Brian Aberback of Patch.com recently conducted an interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante about the 30th anniversary edition of the band's seminal 1985 sophomore album, "Spreading The Disease". Benante also chimed in on the band's upcoming album, "For All Kings". A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Patch.com: "Spreading The Disease" sounds as urgent and vital now as it did 30 years ago. That really says something in this day and age.
Benante: We approached it as this band of young guys on the verge of something. When I listened back I thought, "This is really exciting." We had a mission. It was a moment where you either shined or you didn't shine. I think we really started to sound like ourselves, to come into our own, on that album. I remember going into "Spreading" with more of a direction [compared to first album "Fistful Of Metal"], compared to guys going into the studio for the first time with eyes wide open.
Patch.com: "A.I.R." is brimming with intensity. Did you know that would be the album's first track right away?
Benante: The funny story about that song is the record was already done and "A.I.R." wasn't even written. I went back from Ithaca (where the band recorded "Spreading"), listening to the album all the way home, and spent a couple of days with it and I felt something was missing. I had this other song with a title and everything and I made a demo and sent it up there. Scott [Ian, guitar] called me and said, "This is awesome. Come back up here. We need to record this." You could tell the difference between "A.I.R." and the other songs on the record. I think it was a sign of what was coming, a bridge from "Spreading" to "Among The Living".
Patch.com: Was Joey's [Belladonna, vocals] demo of "Medusa" his audition tape?
Benante: It wasn't so much that as basically, "Let's see what he sounds like now on top of one of our songs." When he first came in for us to hear him sing, he sang some cover tunes. We liked what he did and said, "Here's the lyrics to 'Medusa'." That tape is him putting it down right then and there. I think we knew right then that it was a fit. We stopped recording and did two weeks of shows on the East Coast to see if it was going to work live too, and to give Joey a taste of what this was all about. I remember at some of the shows the kids were going nuts. Joey didn't come from a metal background and I remember him saying, "Wow, this is wild."
Patch.com: Looking ahead, your new disc, "For All Kings", will be out February 26. Any thoughts on the album?
Benante: I don't like to talk too much about how excited I am but it's hard to contain it. I honestly think it may be our best record. If I didn't feel it, I wouldn't say it. I just think that this record, collectively, there are really strong songs on it all the way through.
Read the entire interview at Patch.com.